Many parents throughout Southwest Missouri are concerned their teenage drivers are not prepared when it comes to getting behind the wheel. As a parent who experienced this firsthand I understand this can be a very frightening time. Car accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States among teens. In this article I share some helpful tips to establish clear lines of communication to help keep your teen drivers safe.
What Are the Risk Factors for Teen Drivers?
In Springfield, Missouri and throughout the U.S. teen drivers are four times more likely than adult drivers to be involved in car accidents. According to the Missouri Department of Health, three out of five accident deaths for teens ages 16 to 20 are a result of a car accident. So why are teens at such a high risk?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teens are more at risk because:
- They are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
- They are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter distance between the front of one vehicle to the front of the next.
- Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone.
- At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
Preventing Injuries & Deaths Resulting From Car Accidents Involving Teens
As parents that best way to protect your teenage driver is to ensure they are practicing safe driving, especially when a parent is no longer in the car with them. We all know this can be a difficult task to accomplish. So as a resource Ransin Injury Law has put together five tips to help parents transition their teens from a passenger to a safe and responsible young driver. These tips include:
Create Your Own Driving Rules: Missouri’s Graduated Driver License law requires that all first-time drivers between 15 and 18 years old complete a period of driving with a licensed driver (instruction permit), and restricted driving (intermediate license), before getting a full driver license. This law gives parents a head start. Review the GDL laws for your teen, formalize them with a parent-teen agreement. Go over this agreement with them and establish penalties and additional rules you see fit to the agreement. Make sure both you and your teenager signs it. By setting up this agreement you establish a powerful statement that teens understand: you control his/her driving privileges and consider learning to drive a serious adult responsibility.
Be a Good Role Model! Be Relaxed When Your Drive With You Teen: This may be easier said than done, but the truth of the matter is teens can pick up on nervousness and sense of worry. When you are not relaxed, it can translate to them becoming defensive or having a fearful attitude which then results in putting shackles in the learning process.
Do Not Criticize But Offer Help and Guidance: Teens are often extra-sensitive to what they perceive as criticism, especially when it comes from a parent. Try not to get emotional over mistakes and remember teaching a skill is most effective when you offer help and guidance ahead of a possible error versus criticism. Also offering your own personal learning experiences may be a great way to show them the importance of certain practices.
Discuss Drivers Education Class: If your teen is enrolled in drivers education, discuss it with him/her. Review study materials together and focus on what the class is teaching each time you ride with him/her to make those ideas and practices stick.
Monitor Your Teen’s Driving and Control Access to the Vehicle: After a teen passes their road test, they may want to drive everywhere and anywhere. Keep control of the situation by setting specific rules of when and where they can drive (update your parent-teen agreement mentioned in tip one) and consider technology such as a GPS tracker so you can keep track of where they are at all times.
Experienced Car Accident Lawyer in Springfield Missouri
At the personal injury law firm of Ransin Injury Law our Missouri car accident lawyer has over 32 years of experience representing auto accident victims. We see the outcomes of these tragic collisions everyday, and while passing the road test and earning an Intermediate license may be a joyous moment for a teen, as parents we have to ensure that teenagers understand the responsibility they are undertaking when they get behind the wheel.
Not only will following the above guidelines be a helpful tool when trying to explain the responsibility of driving to teens but our lawyers also recommend that you review Missouri’s Graduated Driver Licensing.
About Ransin Injury Law
Ransin Injury Law is a personal injury law firm located in Springfield, Missouri. It represents motorists injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents in the Ozarks area and throughout the State of Missouri. David offers a free, no obligation case review and represents its clients on a contingency fee basis, which means no legal fees or costs until the case is won or settled. For more information on Ransin Injury Law or to learn your rights if you have been injured in a Missouri car accident, call the law firm’s office today at (417) 881-8282 or use the firm’s online contact form.